Hard Rock Review: Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man

Release Date: December 21, 2019
Label: Epic
From the graveyard fog, The Prince of Darkness has reemerged with his first set of solo material in a decade. With a little help from his friends, Ozzy Osbourne has managed to pull together a respectable assembly of tracks that will satisfy the pop-metal audience he helped to define after striking out on his own in the early '80s. One look at the artwork on Ordinary Man and song titles such as "Under the Graveyard," "Scary Little Green Men," and "Straight to Hell," and you'll appreciate that Ozzy is serving up more of the same delights you've come to love over the years. On the other hand, you know what you're getting, and the menu hasn't changed much. It is not entirely Ozzy's fault. When you make your bed (or dig your grave) by defining a genre, it is hard not to lie in it.  

Overall, the sound on Ordinary Man is both dense and tight. Ozzy's all-star band includes Guns N' Roses alum Duff McKagen and Slash, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith, and guitarist Andrew Watt.  The sound fuses Ozzy's signature confessional soliloquies with the expected onslaughts of heavy metallic riffing. The resulting formula will scare demons from the darkness and into the light of day where they burn to ashes in the heat of the sun.   Then, out of nowhere, Elton John appears, dueting with Ozzy on the oddest song on the album, the title track, "Ordinary Man." The pairing reminds one of an old Rodney Dangerfield joke. "I was an earth sign; she was a water sign. Together we made mud." The song pastes together so much of the past; it is hard to see the present or the future. Jeff Lynne of ELO might want to pay attention to the closing orchestral sequence, which borrows directly from his 1974 hit "Can't Get it Out of my Head." 

Ordinary Man steers itself back onto the road with a handful of solid metal standards. "Straight to Hell" is textbook Ozzy with driving riffs, staccato bass, and drums.  His lyricism remains poignant on this track and prominent throughout the album. Ozzy calls back to "Sweet Leaf" peppering in a few "alright now"'s into the proceedings for old time's sake. "All My Life" is a thoughtful rumination that rises from a sentimental strumming reminiscent of "Goodbye to Romance" to a thrashing crescendo.  

"Under the Graveyard" is a flat-out metal anthem and worthy of inclusion on any Ozzy Greatest Hits collection. The inventor of the heavy-metal hook takes hold on this haunting canticle. "It's a Raid" is the one collaboration on the album that works well and finds Ozzy breaking at least a bit out of his comfort zone. The vocal riffing with Post Malone over the punk/hardcore metal backdrop is a blend of old and new, which is less like water and earth making mud and more like the pleasure, one derives after kicking a trash can over or smashing a mailbox.  Yet there are moments on this song and others where Ozzy appears as a cartoon parody of himself.  It is as if, the record execs took a listen and said there isn't enough ghoulishness or tacky Halloween decorations to scare the kids off the front yard.  This mischaracterization has followed Ozzy throughout his career, and the man and the music deserve better.  Trick or treaters were never quite Ozzy's audience.  Leave that to KISS. Kids in hoodies smoking cigarettes in the graveyard are.  

As the final track on Ordinary Man faded, I realized that the struggles of an aging rockstar are not unlike those of the disaffected and marginalize youth whom Ozzy influenced in his own youth. Even at 71, Ozzy skillfully pens lyrics to which either end of the spectrum can relate. This time, however, he's further from the cradle than the grave. With the recent cancellation of his 2020 tour due to health (Parkinson's) issues, this could potentially be the last new music he releases. If so, I give thanks to the Prince of Darkness. His legacy of hauntingly inviting demons into my soul and then exorcising them all within the constraints of a five-minute song will endure forever. 

- Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | MuzikMan.net Staff

'80s New Wave Icons MISSING PERSONS Featuring Vocalist DALE BOZZIO Announce New Studio Album & First Single!

Los Angeles, CA - New wave icons, and one of the most influential electronic musical acts of all-time, Missing Persons featuring original vocalist Dale Bozzio, are readying a new studio album. Bozzio's inimitable vocal style, as heard on such classics as “Words,” “Destination Unknown,” and “Walking In L.A.,” is the heart and soul of Dreaming, the astonishing new studio album of cover songs and original tunes. Produced by the multi-talented Adam Hamilton (David Hasselhoff / William Shatner), Dreaming offers lush keyboards and atmospheric interpretations of some classic rock/pop songs by fellow '80s legends The Cars, Joy Division, and The The as well as The Rolling Stones, The Mama's & The Papas, and more - all brought to life by Bozzio's unmistakable voice. The album also offers 3 original compositions - the dark and moody “Lipstick,” the haunting title track “Dreaming” and the compelling “This Time” - that demonstrate Missing Persons' relevance to the modern electronic scene.

Listen to the first single, a wildly imaginative and infectious cover of Strawberry Alarm Clock's '60s classic “Incense And Peppermints”: https://www.goldminemag.com/news/audio-premiere-of-missing-persons-cover-of-incense-and-peppermints

Bozzio offers these thoughts on the making of the album saying “This was such an easy, breezy album to make, even though it’s been a long time coming. I think fans will really appreciate the sultriness of this direction of the music and the honesty of the vocals.”

Dreaming will be available on both CD and in a limited-edition PINK vinyl as well as on all digital platforms beginning March 20.

And watch for Bozzio’s exciting, tell-all autobiography “Life Is So Strange” coming later this year!

Track List:
1. California Dreamin'
2. Lipstick
3. Dreaming
4. We Gotta Get Out Of This Place
5. Playing With Fire
6. Just What I Needed
7. This Is The Day
8. Love Will Tear Us Apart
9. Images Of Heaven
10. Incense And Peppermints
11. This Time
12. In The Rain

To purchase/pre-save: https://orcd.co/missingpersonsdreaming

Press inquiries: 
Glass Onyon PR
PH: 828-350-8158

11041 Santa Monica Blvd #703
Los Angeles CA 90025
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Blu-ray/DVD Review: ZZ Top-That Little Ol’ Band From Texas

Release Date: February 28, 2020
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment

That Little Ol’ Band From Texas is a documentary of three men from Texas that grew up listening to the same radio stations. Billy Gibbons (guitar, vocals), Dusty Hill (bass, vocals) and Fran Beard (drums) eventually became the international superstars ZZ Top. This is their story from the beginning.

This Blu-ray/DVD set is a no-fluff story that gives you all the important facts that made ZZ Top who they are. And 50 years later the same three men are together as the longest-standing rock band in history. They never had any new members join or leave. I would have to say that they rate right up there with some of the best rock trios like The Jimi Hendrix Experience and Cream.

They took chances, experimented with their music and partnered with all the right people, and everything just fell together. Not to mention, of course, being around when MTV became a phenomenon and they released Eliminator with some very eye-catching colorful videos.

I learned so much watching this film, things I never knew before. It made me realize the long history and beginnings I never realized. I have always been a fan of the band, not a huge fan mind you, but enough to be curious enough to want to know more. My introduction to them was in the 70s when I heard Fandango for the first time then Tres Hombres. I was sold and those two releases remain my favorites to this day. It was in that period I should have caught them live but never did. Fortunately, they are still touring so maybe I can catch them live before they hang up their boots once and for all.

I enjoyed the up-close jam sessions presented in Gruene Hall with just them and the people shooing the videos. I also enjoyed the footage of the early years and the concert clips. Once I got to the bonus section the clips became the full performances.

50 years is a long time to do anything or be so close to anyone, regardless of what your profession is. Even though they are legends they still consider themselves blues interpreters and it looks as though any of their success has changed them much. They come across as down to earth men from Texas that have had a very successful career that genuinely appreciate everything they have gained over the years.

That Little Ol’ Band From Texas
gave blues a bigger name and more respect than it ever had. It was a joy to watch the film and it held my interest from beginning to end. That is a win any day of the week and if you appreciate the music of ZZ Top you’re going to love this Blu-ray/DVD set.

Keith “MuzikMan” Hannaleck
February 22, 2020

Founder Of:

Review Provided By MuzikMan.net

Gruene Hall Bonus Performances (21 minutes):
Shuffle In C / Fannie Mae
La Grange
Brown Sugar
Blue Jean Blues
Ham Estate Archives Bonus Performances (22 minutes):
Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers
I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide
Manic Mechanic

Indie Rock Review: Duster - Duster

Release Date: December 13, 2019
Label: Mudguts
After Duster’s droned out experimental lamentations helped bury the 20th century, the band took an extended break, which lasted a decade and a half. Founding member Clay Parton explains, “We didn’t feel like we belonged in this world before,” he said. “And the world is only an even bleaker hellscape now.” Duster’s latest release, Duster delivers a pounding, pulsating battle march through this bleak hellscape. It is a sound that Parton aptly describes as “purring distress”.  

There is an element of pain that these tracks bring forth, yet it is a bearable and oftentimes pleasing torment, like a mild sunburn or ankle sprain. Duster skillfully walks the thin line of pleasure and pain, stepping from one side to another, yet maintaining their balance throughout.  

The opening track, “Copernicus’ feels like an interrogation lamp turning off and on and off and on again, blasting into your brain in forcefull, mind-numbing 2-second intervals. “I’m Lost” deliberately cuts the vocals lower than the thundering fuzz of the guitar, drum, and bass blend. Straining to make out the lyrics is part of the experience. “Don’t you know I’m lost? Don’t you know I’m lost without you here.” 

Other angst-ridden gems include “Summer War,” “Damaged,” and “Ghoul.” “Go Back” evokes the most haunting and terror-ridden vibe on the album. Even the more seemingly optimistic “Lomo,” with its rich sonic texture and evocative atmosphere lyrically pull the listener under its spell. “Late into the night. When it’s still and calm. And the mind slows down. Is this death? Maybe. It’s alright.”

All said, If you’re looking to have your soul musically eviscerated, give Duster a listen. The depths you’ll reach are impossible to arrive at with other bands. The mastery of this record lies in how skillfully Duster takes the listener to the depths of their own soul, returning them emptied and expunged, ready to start anew.

Tom Endyke | Guitar & Pen | MuzikMan.net Staff

February 22, 2020


Progressive/Rock Review: Bernie Shaw & Dale Collins -Too Much Information

Release Date: September 13, 2019
Label: Bernie Shaw / Dale Collins
Kicking off the album Too Much Information, Bernie Shaw is very bright and uplifting as "So Many Times" begins. The album reminds me a lot of the band Journey and their unique sound to 80's Rock. Longtime friends Bernie Shaw and Dale Collins team up to produce an album of seismic proportions. With the assistance of Ron Restall on drums and Jason Gardenits on the keyboard, the perfect blend of Blues and Progressive Rock chemistry.

The depiction of the artwork can be interpreted as a dawn of a new day, or as the light in the sea of gray. It sizes up to the tone of the record as it avails the roughness of the waves and the heaviness of songs like "Alone" and "Hey Jimi," while that glimmer of light shone beyond the sea reflects on a more positive note of "Here We Go" and "Rock On."

Running back on "So Many Times," the song captures a lighter side of Bernie Shaw, where he typically adheres to more of an intense Metal sound. It is an excellent battle between letting the light in, feeling good, and thinking there was more one could have made a better choice along the way. "Alone" is an immediate stark contrast. The song proclaims how the singer will now be operating daily life on his own, he cannot continue to carry the weight of his other half with no sign of change or improvement.

"Here We Go," keeps the beat of every traveler's anthem. However, the song speaks of an irritating, repetitious situation that he finds himself caught in the middle of. To me, it feels very much like hiking up an endless trail or mountain; albeit, it even reminds me of the scene in Rocky, climbing the Philadelphia stairs.

"Too Much Information," the title track, is a great bridge-like track. It is not too detailed or overly emotional. Rather, it is a pleasant earworm for guitar lovers everywhere. Contrary to the title, it doesn't feel like overload at all. I probably stand alone in this thought, however, it is nice to see an artist not make the title of the album his or her main focus.

We turn now to a darker note, but, it turns out to be my favorite track of the album. "Sad Song" possesses a great blend of Shaw's vocals and both Shaw's and Collins' instrumental technique. The song has a great way of rocking like the sea, building up like a solid wave and crashing into the shore, at the height of Shaw's chorus lines.

An excellent ode to the late, great Jimi Hendrix follows up a solemn track. Upon initial listening, one is safe to assume, this might be a more somber or even heartwrenching tribute. As the song progresses it is anything but. The song calls out to the spirit of Hendrix and does his honor well by majoritively dedicating this track to being an instrumental piece. One of the great kings of Rock music would be jamming right alongside Shaw and Collins if he were able to hear this today.

"Just A Little Bit" is a great in-your-face anthem of how someone can just try to break another person down in every possible way. The person being tormented wants nothing more than to see the damage right in front of their face. You can tell as the song progresses, the singer won't let this irritation get the best of him and builds upon the harm caused by the other party.

With that rise-from-the-ashes tune, we arrive at the final song of the album, "Rock On." It is a steady, fun track emphasizing the carefree spirit of the duo. The song solidifies what every musician, band, and concert-goer have in common; and that's to simply – rock on. When everything around you seems to be on sensory overload or you might just be feeling a bit down about something in life, the message is clear; rock on with Too Much Information.

Key tracks include: “Sad Song,” “Hey Jimi,” and “Rock On.” 

Gregg Keniston- MuzikMan.net Staff
February 19, 2020

Reviews Provided By:

Track Listing:
1. So Many Times
2. Alone
3. Here We Go
4. Too Much Information
5. Sad Song
6. Hey Jimi
7. Just A Little Bit
8. Rock On

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